At almost 100 years old, U.S. Army veteran Roy “Hank” Brooks has accomplished a lot, and even now, as a resident of Lakewell Place in Mineral Wells, is still sharp as a tack.
Brooks was born on Oct. 23, 1920 in Graford and remained in Palo Pinto County until he got married to his late wife, Maxine “Mike”, in 1941 and moved to Colorado for work before settling in Parker County.
“I went into the Army in 1942 and I got out in 1945 and it was quite an experience,” Brooks said. “I was in the Philippines and Okinawa. When I was in Okinawa there was a creek and a [artillery] battery of guns, 155-millimeter, and I know that’s what’s wrong with my hearing now, but I’m not that bad off. From Okinawa, I went to Korea and [they] liberated in Korea, so I didn’t fight in Korea, and then I came home and went back to work.”
Following his service, Brooks moved to Big Spring and lived there for 42 years while working for the Cabot Corporation.
“I retired and started contract welding and so I was a welder. I really enjoyed it, I really did,” Brooks said. “So I worked 35 years, retired and moved out on [Possum Kingdom Lake]. I bought a lake house that wasn’t too sharp and I promised my wife if she lived there with me for five years, I would build her a house.”
Brooks built that home for him and his wife in the Western Hills subdivision in Mineral Wells, where they resided for about 27 years until they both became residents of Lakewell Place.
“To be 100 years old and still completely, completely in his right mind — he does not have a day that he slips — I just think he’s the most amazing man,” Carol Patterson of Lakewell Place said. “He’s good as gold to people and is just a people-person, and he absolutely loves fishing.”
Brooks has been an avid fisherman for years, and was accompanied by his wife on most trips.
“I’ve fished everywhere I ever wanted to but Alaska, and last June I had a cruise to Alaska and of course, they canceled it. I went to Great Bear Lake and that’s in the very north part of Canada and had an Eskimo guide that I had a lot of fun with, and caught a lot of fish. I just like the challenge I guess,” Brooks said. “I’ve had a lot of fun in my life, done a lot of stupid things to have fun. We had a good life, we stayed together for almost 80 years and had a lot of fun. She fished with me and we didn’t have any children, so we spent our money on time looking around. She made every trip I ever did except one to Great Bear Lake and it’s been a blast.”
Brooks said he’s also been a Masonic Lodge member for 80 years and has loved every minute of it.
A drive-by birthday parade will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday for Brooks at Lakewell Place, 3005 NE 2nd St. in Mineral Wells and anyone is welcome to join in on the celebration.
“Your Lakewell family wishes you a blessed 100th birthday celebration,” Lakewell Place Director Sabra Mosier said.
About turning 100, Brooks said he’s a lot more mobile than others.
“The good Lord has been good to me and I’m still a little mobile — a whole lot more than a lot of other people. This is the best place in the world for me, it’s not home and never will be, but it’s all I got,” he said. “I try to make these people laugh a little bit. I love everybody and I tell people that me and Will Rogers are the only two people in the world who liked everybody we ever met, and I do.”